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Spring break means custodial, maintenance crews hard at work

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Johnson County’s more-than 25,000 public school students and another 1,300 teachers are relaxing at home or headed to the beach for spring break.

The nearly 40 school buildings from Center Grove to Edinburgh are empty. Almost.

The floors are getting a good scrubbing. Furniture is being moved. The custodians and maintenance crews are busy doing the tasks that can’t be accomplished in an evening.

The length of spring break varies by school district — some area schools were closed last week as well — and so do the to-do lists left for the employees still coming to work each morning. Custodians and maintenance crews for Clark-Pleasant and Franklin schools are dusting and cleaning mirrors, but heavy-duty projects such as floor waxing will wait until summer vacation, director of curriculum and instruction Cameron Rains and director of operations Bill Doty said.

Summer vacation won’t be as long this year for school districts that opted to add a second week to fall or spring breaks. An eight-week break isn’t enough time for school districts such as Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson to complete all of the maintenance projects and upgrades needed, which is why Indian Creek’s custodians and work crews are starting now, director of facilities Rudy Loewen said.

Indian Creek’s maintenance crews have already started waxing the high school’s hallways, the middle school’s cafeteria and science room floors. Some classrooms at the elementary and middle schools also will

be freshly painted by the time students return next week, Loewen said.

Plenty of waxing and painting will still need to be done this summer, but the work done during this two-week break provides a head start, Loewen said.

“We’ll be busy all of the summer,” he said. “(Eight weeks) sounds like a long time, but it goes so quickly.”

Some of the items on Loewen’s list are recent additions, while others have been on his to-do list for a few years.

In November, Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson received more than $18,000 from a state grant to purchase security cameras for its buildings, and crews are installing cameras at Indian Creek High School now, Loewen said.

Crews are also replacing the carpet in Indian Creek’s administration building. That carpet was originally installed in the mid-1990s, and replacing it hasn’t been a top priority, Loewen said.

Another reason Loewen needs to start these projects now is because fewer employees are on vacation.

Few of Indian Creek’s maintenance workers or custodians are taking vacation time during spring break, but some of those workers have up to four weeks of time off that they have to take before July 1. Loewen is trying to complete as much work as he can now while he still has a full staff.

“When the staff comes back we actually take a deep breath and relax, because things are getting back to normal,” he said.

This summer, Clark-Pleasant and Franklin schools will conduct more extensive upkeep and renovation projects, which will include roof work and asphalt patching at some of their schools.

Center Grove is also planning to break ground immediately at the end of the school year on renovations at Center Grove Elementary and North Grove Elementary, moving the gymnasiums to the exteriors of both buildings. That work is part of a district-wide, $42 million project Center Grove started planning last year.

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